Juban Parc Elementary Students Benefitting from Flexible Classroom Design

Juban Parc Elementary Students Benefitting from Flexible Classroom Design
Posted on 10/18/2017
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For Immediate Release – Sept. 20, 2017

Contact: Delia Taylor, APR, at 225-931-0285 or taylormedia@bellsouth.net, Assistant Superintendent Joe Murphy at 225-686-7044 or Juban Parc Elementary Principal Shanna Steed at 225-665-4079 or shanna.steed@lpsb.org.


Juban Parc Elementary Students Benefitting

from Flexible Classroom Design

            DENHAM SPRINGS, LA – Students at Juban Parc Elementary School are learning from a new perspective this school year – and like the cliché says, it comes from where they are sitting.  Or better yet, how they are sitting.

Several of their classrooms have been redesigned to incorporate more flexibility in their daily routine.  Seating options include bouncy balls, wobbly stools, floor cushions and a futon. 

Students are allowed to choose the type of seating and area in the classroom that’s most comfortable for them.  In some cases, the options help students manage their restlessness, other options are just more comfortable than the traditional desks with hard-backed chairs and they make it easier for them to collaborate with their classmates.

“We are changing our classroom culture to give our students the space and room they need to move about and collaborate with others.  The flexibility is helping our students focus better on what we’re trying to do in our classes, and that’s boosting learning,” Juban Parc Elementary Principal Shanna Steed said.

Steed, who was a finalist last year for the Louisiana Principal of the Year, said she discussed implementing flexible seating with Sarah McCrary, a fourth-grade teacher at Juban Parc Elementary, during the summer prior to the 2016-2017 school year. Once Steed learned more about the benefits of flexible classroom seating at a national conference two years ago, she was excited to start a pilot program with a few pieces of furniture last year. 

Studies suggest that children who participate in short bouts of physical activity within the classroom have more on-task behavior, with the best improvement seen in students who are least on-task initially.

Steed said many of her teachers quickly saw positive results and bought into the concept, and this year she’s expanded the program to students in first grade and up.

“It’s about making our classrooms student-centered, not teacher-centered,” McCrary said.  “In a flexible classroom, every area can become a learning space for students.”

“A bookshelf becomes a standing work station, a beanbag transforms into a reading corner, and whiteboard paint turns any surface into a writing opportunity. These classrooms allow students to choose, or to create, the spaces they need to succeed—helping them understand themselves better as learners while building 21st-century skills like collaboration, communication, and creativity,” McCrary said.

“When it comes to student engagement and achievement, I’m willing to step outside the box to try new methods,” Kelli Lowery, a fifth grade English-Language Arts teacher at Juban Parc Elementary, said.

“I admit, at first I was a bit nervous about incorporating flexible seating into our 5th grade classroom, thinking I'd have to give up pieces of the necessary organization and management.  However, after just a few days with my 5th graders learning from various seating, I quickly realized that I wasn't losing anything.  Rather, my students are gaining so much,” Lowery said.  “Our classroom is still organized and student expectations are clear.  My 5th graders are better focused, more involved in discussions, and they have a stronger sense of belonging.  After all, that's what it's all about.”

Assistant Superintendent Joe Murphy said the district is supporting flexible seating at several campuses across the parish who are experimenting with the new setups this school year.

 “The flexible classroom design is really just an outward display of a greater effort in our schools—and that’s to move teaching and learning into the 21st Century.  We know so much more today about how the brain works and how individuals have different learning styles,” Murphy said.

“We believe this will eventually evolve into the way all classrooms look,” Murphy said. 

Steed noted that she reached out to the local Assess the Need school supply program to help fund part of the classroom redesign, and she was able to add a few dollars her school had saved up to pay the rest.

“We are very fortunate to have district leaders and a community network that is willing to support our efforts to advance learning in our schools,” Steed said.

“We are creating an atmosphere and a teaching culture that supports greater flexibility and greater creativity so our students can begin to explore more of the concepts and ideas around them.  We don’t want just good students.  We want 21st Century thinkers in our classrooms,” Steed added.


Juban Parc Elementary Teacher Kelli Lowery kneels down to review Olivia Landry’s work on her laptop, while classmates Autumn Ballard and Kinsley Worthington work together on the other side of the low table.


Juban Parc Elementary Fourth-Grader Jada Williams is seated on a green ball at her class work station.  She is collaborating with classmate Haylee Rincon (standing), while from left to right, Kyle Poucher and Ziria Hawkins work together.


Juban Parc Elementary Teacher Sarah McCrary discusses a class project with fourth-graders, from left, Mackenzie Landry, Christian Ferguson, and Kaia Juban, who are seated on the classroom’s futon.


Juban Parc Elementary Fourth-Grader Kayley Crusta is seated on a green ball at her class work station.  Classmate Cole Acosta is pictured in the background.

Notice of Discrimination

The Livingston Parish School Board does not discriminate on the basis of age, race, religion, national origin, disability or gender in its educational programs and activities (including employment and application for employment), and it is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of gender by Title IX (20 USC 168) and on the basis of disability by Section 504 (42 USC 794). The Title IX Coordinator is Stephen Parrill

Livingston Parish Public Schools is committed to ensuring that all websites and web applications, both public-facing and for internal use, conform to Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (W.C.A.G.) 2.0 Level AA. Any issues should be reported toLPWebAccessibility@lpsb.org. (stephen.parrill@lpsb.org), Assistant Superintendent, P.O. Box 1130, Livingston, LA 70754; Phone (225) 686-7044. The Special Education Director is Dr. Eric Penalber (eric.penalber@lpsb.org); the LPPS 504 Coordinator is Monica Sullivan (monica.sullivan33@lpsb.org), P.O. Box 1130 Livingston, LA 70754; Phone (225)686-4248.

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